Lifestyle

Look, you'll get the 'pitcher'

DRINK UP: Monkeys drink from the pitcher plant.
DRINK UP: Monkeys drink from the pitcher plant. Contributed

WHAT'S weirder, a plant that can grow whiskers up to ½ m long, or a climbing carnivorous plant that can get so big monkeys use the insect-catching pitchers as a cup?

What's even weirder still about both these plants is that they both can be grown here in Ipswich.

The Bat Plant, Tacca integrifolia (white) and Tacca chantieri (black), can grow whiskers up to 50cm long. This amazing and weird plant has bizarre flowers resembling a bat's black face with white or black ears and long whiskers. It is found naturally in south-east Asia and from eastern India to southern China.

It is a clumping plant with large lush green foliage. It loves humidity and can be grown indoors as well as outside in a warm shady spot. In the past this plant has been quite rare and many found it hard to grow.

I have found that it is not hard to grow, just a little fussy. Once you have found the perfect spot for it and stop fussing (overwatering it) it will thrive. At Trevallan Lifestyle Centre we found the Bat Plants like a particular area in the garden centre best. This area is not really that much different from other areas in the centre. It is shady but very warm and the plants are kept moist but not sitting in water. Our Tacca chantieri, Black Bat Plant, had more than 10 flowers on it during its past flowering season!

We advise that when you take your Bat Plant home don't plant it immediately. Try it in a few spots first and see where the plant would like to make its home. Plus it's best not to fuss over it - it grows naturally on the rainforest floor. I find the best fertilisers are the Plant of Health range of fertilisers - Triple Boost Liquid Fertiliser and Organic Link slow release granular fertiliser as the Bat Plant does not like strong fertilisers and tends to look sick if you use chemical fertilisers, which leads you to use more - and kill it.

Nepenthes, tropical pitcher plants, have a common name of monkey cups. This refers to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from these plants' pitchers.

I find the climbing pitcher plant the easiest of all carnivorous plants to grow. They enjoy similar growing conditions to ferns and orchids. They can be grown indoors or outdoors in a sheltered, semi-shaded position receiving 50-80% shade or morning sun. We have ours growing in a hanging basket under a shady tree. They like to be kept moist, but they must have good drainage as they do not like to sit in water. Sphagnum moss as mulch helps a lot.

Nepenthes can be tip-pruned to keep them compact as the older leaves die right back to the stem. I kind of like the kooky look of having pitchers climbing up through the tree. Step outside your box this weekend and get a little bizarreness going on in your garden!

Topics:  chelsea van rijn, gardening, opinion




PHOTO GALLERY: Race fans enjoy high octane fun at Supercars

Tyler Day, Deegan McNamara, Joshua Day and Michael McNamara at the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint.

Large crowds converge on Queensland Raceway

Eagles soar to minor title win

SPREAD EAGLE: Goodna forward Liva Toelupe attempts to glide through the Bombers defence as the home side defeat Fassifern 44-24 at Woogaroo Field yesterday.

Dominant win over Fassifern secures Goodna minor premiership

Latest deals and offers

Day 2 Splendour Pictures

Sticky Fingers perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Splendour in the Grass Day 2 covered in pictures.

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Recycling your childhood faves

GHOST GIRL: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in a scene from Ghostbusters.

Everything that's old is new again

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles